US report on anti-money laundering, drug trafficking ‘fairest ever seen’: Antigua envoy

Sir Ronald Sanders seen with former US President Barrack Obama.
Official White House / Lawrence Jackson

Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, has described the 2019 US International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) on Antigua and Barbuda as “the fairest report” he has seen in years.

Every year, the US State Department compiles, for the US Congress, a report in two volumes of drug trafficking and money laundering in jurisdictions around the world, noted the Antigua and Barbuda Government in a statement on Friday.

It said Sir Ronald has been a critic of past reports, “which relied on unverified information from undisclosed sources and, therefore, reached inaccurate and damaging conclusions.”

The reports, in addition to being sent to the US Congress, are made public by the US State Department on its website.

“The 2019 Report is far fairer and more balanced than previous reports”, said Sir Ronald, stating that the report “takes account of scrupulous assessments of the Antigua and Barbuda jurisdiction conducted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force that found the country to be one of the top performers in the Caribbean on its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regimes.”

The report states that Antigua and Barbuda has improved its AML (Anti-Money Laundering) regime.”

It also recognizes that, “The government has developed a national action plan to address the issues” noted in a National Risk Assessment, and that “the National Anti-Money Laundering Oversight Committee and other relevant agencies are also amending their policies and procedures accordingly.”

With regard to drug trafficking, Antigua and Barbuda was assessed as part of the Eastern Caribbean which, the report states, “have strong working relationships with the United States on drug control operations.”

The report states that, during the first nine months of 2018, “Antigua and Barbuda reported 142 drug-related arrests with 70 prosecutions and 66 convictions”.

“The 2019 US INCSR confirms that Antigua and Barbuda, as a jurisdiction, is aggressive in enforcing both its drug interdiction policies and its anti-money laundering regime,” Sir Ronald said.

He said he has written to the US State Department commending the authors for “a fairer and more balanced report”, according to the statement.

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